A baseball is a baseball, right? To the average eye, it may seem like from one baseball to another, there is little to no difference. Ask a baseball player, however, and you’ll quickly find that the range of different models of baseballs is quite large. Modern technology has paved the way for subtle but revolutionary improvements in construction and overall performance.
Finding the right baseball can prove to be a difficult task, especially if you’re not quite sure exactly what you’re looking for. These days, baseballs can be tailored for different purposes, different levels of play, different ages and more. In this article, we’ll break down all the ins and outs of baseballs and all the advantages and disadvantages of the different kinds. This way, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to find the best baseball on the market for you.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Baseball Balls in the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Baseball Balls
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Regulation size baseballs should have a circumference of 9 to 9 1/4 inches and weigh between 5 and 5 1/4 ounces. Standard models are made with a cork core, covered with rub and finally wrapped in a thick layer of wool thread. The very outer covering can be made of a variety of material from leather (highest quality) to synthetic leather or other material.
- Seams come in three different styles: flat, raised or rolled. Each seam has an effect on the aerodynamics of the ball, making it less or more difficult to pitch and hit. Raised seams facilitate a more controlled throw, while flat seamed balls take a bit more experience to use.
- Cost is not the only factor to consider when looking at the different models of baseballs. Texture, material, size, build and aesthetics are other important aspects to take into consideration when choosing the best baseball for you.
Our Selection: The Best Baseball Balls in the U.S. Market
In the following section, we’ve created a diverse ranking of the four best baseballs we’ve found on the market. It includes a variety of models that have different characteristics that will give an idea of the different routes you can go when purchasing the right one; of course, always the best value for the best price.
- Best Recreational League Baseball Ball
- Best Baseball Ball for Weight Training
- The Best Baseball Ball for Little League Competition
- The Highest Quality Baseball Ball for the Best Price
Best Recreational League Baseball Ball
This bag of 12 Official League Baseballs by Rowling is designed for recreational use. Made of a solid cork and rubber center, they are ideal for batting practice or casual games. It has a full-grain leather cover and major league seams that are easy to grip.
This pack of 12 comes in an easy to transport mesh bag, all for under $20. They are made according to the official weight and size standards, making them a #1 choice for Amazon and leagues across America.
Best Baseball Ball for Weight Training
This baseball by SKLZ is the ideal ball for building throwing and pitching strength. The 2 pack contains a 10 oz and a 12 oz ball. They have the same construction as an official baseball, simply of a heavier core.
These baseballs are great for pre-game warm-ups and general pitch training with a partner or an SKLZ Pitchback Net. They are constructed in different colors to tell apart from regulation baseballs.
The Best Baseball Ball for Little League Competition
This baseball by Rawlings is the official ball of little league, approved for use in all little leagues across the US. It is composed of a cork and rubber center with increased durability thanks to its full-grain leather cover.
It is designed for competition use for ages 14 and under. It has raised seams that provide for optimal grip and aerodynamics. This 12 pack comes at a great price and is one of Amazon’s Top Choice for baseballs.
The Highest Quality Baseball Ball for the Best Price
Wilson is selling these professional-grade baseballs at an amazing price due to their minor manufacturing imperfections. Buyers are raving about the long-lasting durability of these balls that are almost, if not completely, brand new.
They are built with a full-grain leather cover over a red cushioned cork center. These baseballs hold their shape, their outer covering staying intact for years, often much long after similar brands at the same price.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Baseball Balls
There are a plethora of different kinds of baseballs on the market. Baseball is a sport played by all ages, cultures, and demographics. There are baseballs made for kids, for adults, for training, for competition, for recreation, and for professionals. Below we’ve answered the most frequently answered questions about baseballs and laid out the general information you need to know to find the best one for you.
What makes a baseball different than other balls?
Baseballs, as indicated by the name, are specially made balls used specifically for playing baseball. They have an average weight of 142 grams and a diameter of about 9”, with slight variances depending on the model and purpose. They are traditionally built with a cork and rubber center to add density. They are meant to be small and heavy so, when thrown, require technique and practice to strike.
How is a baseball made?
Creating a baseball requires a good amount of labor through a multi-step process. It is essentially, a layering of various materials around a rubbery sphere the size of a cherry. The first step is the molding of the rubber around the cork center. There are usually two layers of rubber molded and sealed around the cork center to create what is called “the pill”.
Once the pill is made, several layers of yarn are tightly wound around the center. Each layer of yarn or twin is of different thickness and texture. These multiple layers allow the ball to be pliable and slowly modable into a round shape throughout the construction process.
This step is now done with the help of machines to get large amounts of string wrapped extremely tightly around the core. The cowhide cover is then sewn to cover this rubber, cork and yarn ball, consisting of two 8 shaped pieces. This seals the ball, giving it a resilient outer cover.
What types of baseballs are there and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
There is a multitude of types of baseballs, each created to meet the needs of different players. Due to the texture, size, and material of each baseball, they change slightly in how they perform and in what situations are most appropriate for use. Below is a table that lays out 6 common categories used to distinguish the different models of baseballs and their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.
|Mild miniballs|| Used in small backyards or indoors.
They reach up to 65 km per hour
|They travel less distance.|
|Fast mini balls|| They are made of a harder, more resistant plastic.
They reach 100 km/h.
|They should not be used in closed patios or small spaces as they can damage walls or windows.|
|Soft Lite|| They are ideal for young players.
They build confidence, great for slow pitching and those getting not yet used to high speedballs. They are softer than normal balls.
|They travel at a slower speed.|
|Slider Simulated Leather Balls (or simulated leather balls)||They can be used in launch machines||They are only for throwing curveballs.|
|Hard Lite|| They have a design with holes.
They travel faster and more accurately than the rest.
They are perfect for getting used to baseball and playing.
|They are harder.|
|Balls of the real launch machine|| They are characterized by their precision.
They have a polyurethane structure
|They are not the same type of ball used in a match.|
How do you hold and throw a baseball?
While it is not the only component, the technique for throwing a baseball heavily comes down to the positioning of the fingers and subtle movements of the hand. Based on how you grab the ball and let the ball slide and push off of your fingers will determine the direction, power and potential curve of the ball.
Once in a proper standing position, you must place the index and middle finger across one of the rows of seams, with the thumb positioned directly underneath to form a third-gripping point to enclose the whole ball in the hand.
Holding properly and releasing from the seams will help the ball move straighter and more precisely to a teammate or catcher. Once positioned, the proper joint mechanics must be carried out through the arm to release and the ball properly and efficiently, something we certainly can’t cover in this short article.
What is an intelligent baseball?
The intelligent baseball, great for training purposes, was created by a Kickstarter campaign. It is called Strike and is able to measure the trajectory of the ball, the speed of the ball and its rotation. All of this can be monitored through any mobile device thanks to its corresponding app. Its cost is approximately $140.
How is a baseball different from a softball?
The main differences between a baseball and a softball are their size and weight. Although the structure and concept of the game are essentially the same, the balls have significant differences. Softball and baseball balls do follow the same manufacturing process, softball is larger and that in some areas are made of microfiber and not leather.
This causes the softball to be a bit softer and more forgiving in regards to hitting and catching. Because of their larger size, their aerodynamics make them easier to handle and throw, although they cannot pick up as much speed like a traditional baseball.
If you love baseball and play it often, there’s no doubt that your ball is one of, if not the most, important element. If you’re a dedicated baseballer, it’s crucial to study the different characteristics of baseballs so, when the time comes, you’re able to run through a quick checklist to make sure it has all the elements you require. Below, we’ve created a purchase criterion that covers all the necessary considerations we believe one should keep in mind while going on the search for the perfect baseball.
- Material of Manufacture
It can be hard to know what the ideal texture for a baseball is. There are a number of different materials that can be used to cover a baseball that will affect its texture. There is horsehide, cowhide and a number of synthetic leathers used on the market today. Above all, you should be able to grip and catch the ball without it slipping out of the hand.
Textured balls tend to be easier to hit as well, able to travel much farther. Higher quality balls will have much more texture and substance to the outer coating, while lower quality balls seem to have a bit thinner of an outer covering and “smoother”. While often time smoother seems better, this is not the case for baseballs.
Material of Manufacture
While the texture of the ball is directly related to the material of the ball, it is only in regard to the outer covering and feel of the ball. All the different materials used in manufacturing will influence the performance on the ball in a multi-faceted way.
The quality of shape, the heaviness and seams, and life span, which all further influence the ball’s ability to move through the air with precision and speed. Good quality balls are always made of leather (whether synthetic or natural, bound with well-made stitching for the perfect closure.
The material used for binding will affect the grip and the ball’s overall air resistance. Unlike leather balls, those made with other materials tend to breakdown faster and don’t grip as well. More often than not this is not a problem. Those who play recreationally or in lower-level competitions often do not need the more expensive, exceptionally high-quality material balls used in professional settings.
Aesthetics and design is something we inevitably look at when buying our first baseball. It’s not about choosing the prettiest ball, but one that has more visibility and can be hit and caught well. A good baseball should be a bright color that is clear of imperfections. The most standard and commonly purchased are white balls with black or red stitching.
The quality of baseball will be determined largely in part by its materials alongside the method of manufacturing. More often than not, you will never be able to tell one quality of ball over another by simply looking at it. And while price can often be a good indicator of this, that is not always the case.
Carefully looking over the ball for good build, proper construction, and external features is useful; but doing research on each ball, brand and reading customer reviews will be a person’s biggest helper in determining which ball will provide the best performance.
A baseball would be nothing without its bat. It’s always a good idea to buy equipment that is known to perform best together. Certain bats are often more appropriate for different kinds of balls. They must be strong, resilient, but light enough to hit the ball of your choice.
Finding the right glove and bat will have an effect on the performance of the ball and how you are able to manipulate and play with it. Having good quality shoes and helmet will keep you safe will you play and allow you to make the most of your overall baseball experience.
All baseball lovers, large or small, beginner or professional, will enjoy this amazing sport even more with the right accessories. For successful and complete training, having the right ball shouldn’t be undervalued. With the number of companies producing and manufacturing their own models of baseball balls, it can be difficult to pinpoint the right one.
Baseballs can differ in size, material, texture, construction, and color; all of this influencing the player’s ability to play their best game. As the fundamental piece in playing catch or playing a professional match, the quality of a baseball should not be overlooked. With this purchase criterion and shopping guide, you should have no problem selecting the best one for you.
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(Featured image source: Sorapong Chaipanya: 41630241/123rf.com)